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Chobani yogurt recalled

After handling complaints about the quality of its products on its own, the company, amid widespread criticism, announces an official recall.

By Mitch Lipka Sep 3, 2013 4:50PM

Containers of Chobani yogurt in various flavors in Soho, NY, on July 23, 2012 (© Mary Altaffer/AP)

Updated 4:43 p.m. ET Thursday.

 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday announced the recall of dozens of different types of Chobani yogurt after widespread complaints about foul tastes, smells and bloated foil lids.

"The company has ceased the distribution of the product due to reports of product bloating and swelling and some claims of illness as the company continues its investigation to identify the root cause," the FDA said in a brief statement attached to the recall notice.


A full list of recalled items can be found here. The company claims most of the affected yogurt -- mold has been blamed for the problems -- is off of store shelves.


Chobani, the top-selling Greek yogurt on the market, had been quietly pulling its product from store shelves around the country after complaints came raining in about the obvious problems with the dairy product.

Nearly a week after the company acknowledged a problem on both its Facebook page and blog, Chobani finally announced a recall through the FDA.

 

Chobani, on its blog, had already identified the specific lots at issue.

The company wrote:



We’ve been diligently working with our retail partners and have voluntarily and proactively removed and replaced the majority of potentially affected cups with the code 16-012, expiration dates 9/11/2013 – 10/7/ 2013 (emphasis added) to ensure our fans are met with only the best experience when enjoying our products. In order to deliver upon our very rigid quality standards, we ask that if you’ve purchased cups with these code dates to contact our Customer Loyalty Team directly at http://chobani.com/who-we-are/contact so we can coordinate replacements.


But the FDA announcement is far more specific, detailing the flavors and types of yogurt involved.


On its Facebook page, Chobani had also acknowledged the problems that caused alarm among its customers, but fans pushed back and questioned the effectiveness of how the company has handled the situation.


"There is nothing more important to us than the quality of our products," Chobani posted to its Facebook page. "We're currently in the process of voluntarily removing some from shelves that simply weren't up to snuff."

Dozens of comments from consumers follow, many expressing disappointment. Some complained that the yogurt looked odd, tasted foul, or actually made them sick. But Chobani, which responded to many of the posts, indicated that the issue was quality control not health safety.

That posture, while perhaps intended to be reassuring, irked many customers, including many who said they had been brand loyal to the company that has led the Greek yogurt craze.

Here's one comment: "I have purchased yogurts, had them puff up, blow up, or just taste ugly a whole week, extra trips back to store, two days of being ill, and I have serious health issues...and your (sic) saying this isn't a food safety issue?"

Another self-professed fan was unhappy the company hasn't been more aggressive letting both consumers and stores know that there's a problem with some of its yogurt.

I have decided to not buy anymore (sic) until all of the consumers get some better information about what's really happening. I don't understand why there hasn't been a recall. Chobani states that they are working with their retail partners to remove the cups from the shelves that have gone bad, but I've been to about 5 different grocery stores over the past week that have about 20 completely bloated, ready to explode cups still on their shelves-even as late as today.

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70Comments
Sep 3, 2013 10:30PM
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Sounds to me like the packaging is working.    If it were not properly sealed, the packages would not be puffing up as they reported. 

If I owned the brand I would argue to the ruling body here (USDA or FDA) that the consumer is given a red flag when he sees an unappetizing bloated and oozing cup of Chobani on the store shelf.  But that's the manufacturer's self-interest.  For all you "fans", don't buy them!

No one should eat that, I don't care how much you love the product.  A bloated dairy product to me would suggest that something is spoiling on the inside, and we should not be the ones to debate how it got contaminated.  Just get it off of the store shelves!



Sep 3, 2013 8:39PM
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It is my favorite yogurt by far and I've gotten many of my friends to try it and they also think it is the most creamy and well balanced in flavors.  In 2 years I have never had one container open or taste bad.
Sep 3, 2013 6:51PM
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I've had problems with the flip cups.  I throw out more than I eat.  I thought it was poor refrigeration at the store's end.
Sep 3, 2013 7:44PM
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even if it is a packaging issue, an incomplete seal can spoil the yogurt and let in microbes etc...that can then harm individuals.  Just because it may be a "packaging issue" does not make it any less of a concern that a product safety problem.
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What is strange is that I have seen what is described in this article and in the responses to this article.
However... some of the 'types' don't appear to have this problem. For example, the blueberry (my favorite) doesn't seem to ever have this problem, though the citrus (blood orange and the pineapple) do appear to have this problem.
I am very careful now to select ONLY those Chobani cups that have a flat (not puffed up) top, and to look to see that it is properly sealed. After doing that, what I take home with me is what I always enjoy without any problems.
Sep 3, 2013 8:03PM
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It's not just the yogurt cups.  The Chobani Champions tubes have been going bad lately too.  I had to throw out three 16 packs the other day.  Extremely disappointing. 
Sep 3, 2013 11:07PM
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My daughter and I were at the Springfield, Oregon Fred Meyer's (owned by Kroger) last week. She noticed a hugely puffed carton of Chobani. When she pointed it out to a young woman who worked there, the gal shrugged and said, "Oh it's just that the cap popped off." Well, hello! Of course the cap popped off; the foil was puffed up! Time for a recall of all of them. (Companies recall and destroy tomato cans that puff less than that thing was!)

Sep 3, 2013 6:30PM
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Actually, I threw some out for the same reason. Let us know when we can buy theproduct safely.
Sep 3, 2013 8:06PM
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I liked Chobani but had to quit buying it.  I'd get a box at Costco and fully half were moldy when I opened them.  When I got down to going to the local grocery store, buying one at a time, opening it, returning it, trying again...and occasionally getting one I could eat...well, time to give them up.  I contacted Chobani about it and they sent me coupons for free product...I didn't use all the coupons they sent me...not worth it.
Sep 3, 2013 11:49PM
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Normally, bloated lids means Coliform.   Not the harmful E. Coli, just a post pasteurization contamination species that cause spoilage.   Chobani has something not being cleaned/sanitized properly or contaminated fruit. 
Sep 3, 2013 9:32PM
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I had noticed some months ago that Chobani Yogurt had an off taste and I stopped buying it. 

I had recently bought some Sigis that ended up having a puffy top before I got to use it but while it was still within its expiration date. 

I know look at the tops of the Yogurts pretty carefully before I buy them. 

I am off Chobani though since I just don't like the taste of it.

Sep 4, 2013 5:10PM
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How can i get a news station to contact me?? I bought a completely different brand of yogurt yesterday and it is also bloated up.  I think this issue is way beyond just the Chobani brand.  Mine is the Yopa brand; and the container is ready to burst.
Sep 4, 2013 8:33PM
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I work at Costco in returns and I have returned many packages of this yogurt in the last 2 weeks...all stating the same issues. When they say that it is a quality control issue and NOT a health safety issue....WHAT? Aren't they the same thing when it comes to food products. At Costco, if there is any hint of anything being not right with a food product, we do an immediate recall, which Chobani is refusing to do. For being the most popular greek yogurt, that is the worst company policy. Definitely won't buy it.
Sep 4, 2013 4:19PM
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I love this yogurt and am eating one right now! It is fine as it has a different code than the bad ones. I hope no one gets ill from a bad one.

 

Sep 4, 2013 5:09PM
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This is not just Chobani.  Last night i bought a YOPA brand Greek Yogurt and the container is also bloated up and ready to pop.  I cant get any news channels to listen to me though
Sep 4, 2013 6:05AM
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I had a poofy yogurt cup and it smelled kind of fermented to me.  I threw it away but have continued to buy and eat Chobani even though the yogurt looked kind of funny.  I didn't get sick, but I think I will look for another brand for now.
Sep 3, 2013 10:34PM
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I purchased a large tub of chobani plain yogurt last week - like I do most weeks. I took a portion to work for lunch and mindlessly scooped up and ate a big bite while I was working. GROSS! It tasted like it was spoiled milk or something equally nasty. I almost threw up right there. Never again. Walmart makes a product with the same amount of protein, at half the price, tastes just fine to me. That's what I will eat from now on.
Sep 3, 2013 10:57PM
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I noticed quite awhile ago there was less pineapple in the yogurt and it tasted different.Probably cheapened up the ingredients like all the rest of the companies do when they get popular.
Sep 5, 2013 5:10AM
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You know...if you go to the grocery store and the container of the product you want to buy is in puffs up and oozes liquid; then, probably, you do not want to buy--unless, of course, you want to become a science experiment yourself or want to get food poisoning.   I'm just saying...
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